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Opponent announced for Cristiane Santos’ return to the ring

After being away from action since June 2010, featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos will return to the Strikeforce cage on December 17 to defend her title against Hiroko Yamanaka. The match-up was announced during the Strikeforce Challengers 19 broadcast and ends a period of limbo due to the Brazilian’s contractual status.

Santos’ reputation as the most ferocious female in MMA is well-earned after finding success in ten straight including eight strike-based stoppages. She has finished all four opponents she’s faced in Strikeforce including victories over Marloes Coenen, Gina Carano, and most recently Jan Finney.

Stylistically, Yamanaka creates an interesting match-up given her ability on the ground. A 12-1 grappler out of Japan, the 32-year old Yamanaka is currently on an eight-fight winning streak.

Also on the card a lightweight title bout between champion Gilbert Melendez, coming off an impressive showing against Tatsuya Kawajiri, and number one contender Jorge Masvidal, who earned his title shot after defeating K.J. Noons last June.

PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE